Language Arts: Our Kindergarten Language Arts program, called Wonders by McGraw Hill, follows the California Common Core. Our reading program combines whole reading and phonics. We use guided reading with trade literature and big books. Reading is taught in a whole group and in small ability groups with leveled readers. Each week, we read stories that are focused on one concept; other subjects such as phonics, spelling, vocabulary, grammar and creative writing flow from that particular concept. Many other reading skills are taught through activities such as reading poetry, choral reading, and partner reading. We use LEXIA, an adaptive online phonics program, twice a week.
Math: The main focus in Math is number sense, addition and subtraction, place value, measurement and geometry. There is a strong emphasis on problem-solving that runs throughout the curriculum. We do a lot of partner work and hands-on activities with manipulatives. Several days a week we also work in ability groups to better accommodate each child’s skill level. We use DreamBox during group time which is an online adaptive math program.
Religion: We teach religion daily, focusing on God’s love for all of us. We work closely with our school’s Religion Coordinator, Mrs. Hernandez, who visits Kindergarten weekly and plans a special spring retreat on God’s Love and God’s World Around Us. We also have a Prayer Circle where children learn how to share special prayer intentions, listen to Bible stories surrounded by a prayerful, spiritual and peaceful candle-lit circle.
Science/Science Lab: In Kindergarten we use Mystery Science Curriculum which is aligned to the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standard). Students use an inquiry-based process to focus on exploring, explaining, and evaluating the three major categories of science: Life (plants & animals), Earth (weather, habitats, natural resources), and Physical (pushes & pulls, energy from the sun). The children go to the science lab once a week to participate in hands-on science experiments.
Social Studies: The Social Studies curriculum in Kindergarten is Scholastic’s “Let’s Find Out”. This publication features, nonfiction; pencil-friendly activities; and lesson plans that help meet the Common Core Standards.
Computers/Technology: We have the latest SMART Board interactive whiteboard on which we do activities and lessons. We use it regularly: for morning messages, calendar items, daily poetry reading, graphing favorite colors, reviewing alphabet letters and sounds, and watching videos like Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. We also integrate iPads in small groups which help us to reinforce our reading, writing (letter formation) and math concepts! In computer class, students learn parts of the computer, mouse proficiency, coding, and use KidPix.
Fine Arts: Music and Fine Arts classes are offered once a week led by our Fine Arts Director. Focus is on liturgical music, preparation for the Advent Prayer Service, and working on our class level play for our year-end performance.
Art: Weekly classes introduce basic art terms with a focus on the elements of art. Students are exposed to a variety of media while continuing to improve fine motor skills. Projects include topics that support the classroom curriculum.
Physical Education: Children participate in PE one hour every week, developing age appropriate basic movement skills, emphasizing team building opportunities, practicing sportsmanship, and learning how to be fit and healthy!
Spanish: Listening is the first step toward any language acquisition. Therefore, our main focus is helping the students become familiar with the sounds in Spanish. We do this mainly through songs and games.
Library: Students enjoy time with our Librarian every week.
Ms. Crusco started at SJC as an 8th-grade aide along with leading the Math and Enrichment and Intervention programs. She then taught 7th-grade Social Studies until joining Kindergarten. Ms. Crusco received her Bachelor’s Degree in 2015 and is currently working on her Master’s degree in Education along with her credential from USF.
Instructional Aide: Mrs. Jio is one of our most treasured long-time teachers. She founded our Kindergarten program and then taught first grade for many years. In addition, she was Vice Principal and now, as a retired teacher, aides in her favorite classes.
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